Delayed termination of the conditioned stimulus at different stages of avoidance learning
Mullin, Allan Donald
The study of avoidance behavior is not new to psychology; it was investigated in the laboratory as early as 1913 by the Russian physiologist, Bekhterev. Recently, however, avoidance learning has attracted the interest of psychologists concerned with the motivation of behavior. This interest is related directly to the most central event in avoidance learning, the presentation of noxious or aversive stimuli. It has long been recognized that the aversiveness of an unconditioned stimulus (US) is motivating and contributes to the acquisition of escape behavior (responses that quickly terminate the aversive stimulus). More recently, however, some theorists (Solomon & Wynn, 1954; Mowrer, 1960) have also attributed motivating properties to the conditioned stimulus (CS). It is claimed that after the CS has been paired a few times with a noxious US it is no longer neutral but comes to take on fear or anxiety arousing properties that act as a drive (Miller, 1948).